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Business > Greece’s Eurobank acquires Bulgaria’s DZI October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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The acquisition by Eurobank EFG of Bulgaria’s DZI Bank has taken the process of bank privatisation a step further, and secured the dominance of Greek-owned banks in the Bulgarian market.

The acquisition of DZI, the bank formerly owned by slain millionaire Emil Kyulev, was announced on September 29. Eurobank EFG offered 157.76 million euro for 74.26 per cent of the shareholders’ capital. It will pay 110 million of the sum in cash and the balance in two million shares in Eurobank EFG.

The 74.26 per cent share was sold by DZI Group (50.09 per cent) and by a DZI Group subsidiary and by another company that had been owned by Kyulev before he was shot dead in a Sofia street in October last year.

The deal will require approval by Bulgarian National Bank and Bulgaria’s Competition Protection Commission and their Greek counterparts.

It is expected that DZI will be merged with Greek-owned Postbank to create Eurobank DZI, which will be the fourth largest bank in Bulgaria in terms of assets.

Apart from Postbank, the other Greek-owned banks in Bulgaria are Emporiki Bank, United Bulgarian Bank, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank and the National Bank of Greece.

In winning the competition for DZI, Eurobank EFG, which is Greece’s third largest bank, beat Austria’s Volksbank and OTP of Hungary, which expressed interest but declined to formally submit bids.

Trade in DZI Bank and DZI Insurance, recently suspended during the process of the acquisition, was scheduled to resume on October 4. At the end of June, DZI had total reported assets of 1.1 billion leva, and was the 11th largest bank in Bulgaria in terms of assets. It had 131 branches and 1300 employees.

The end of a mobile era? October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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Greek mobile and technology retailer Germanos said that Vodafone Panafon SA terminated its resale agreement with the company because of Germanos’ acquisition by mobile operator Cosmote.

The agreement between Germanos and Vodafone was due to expire at the end of the year but Vodafone terminated it yesterday.

Germanos added that the termination will have no significant effect because Germanos will strengthen its cooperation with Cosmote after the acquisition.

Greece joins in blasting North Korea October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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Greece joins in blasting North Korea for conducting underground explosion

Greece joined other members of the international community yesterday in condemning North Korea’s apparent underground nuclear test.

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis accused North Korea of “disregarding the concerns and appeals of the international community.” “Greece condemns such a provocative action which contravenes the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, disregards Security Council Resolution 1695 and constitutes a threat to international stability, security and peace,” Bakoyannis said in a statement.

The Helios Report October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Results due to be submitted today

The final report into what caused a Cypriot airliner to crash north of Athens last August, killing all 121 people on board, is due to be handed over to Greek and Cypriot authorities today.

“The report will be delivered to the Greek transport minister and subsequently to the Greek prosecutor’s office on Tuesday morning,” head of the investigation team Akrivos Tsolakis told Agence France-Presse yesterday. “I will then board a plane for Cyprus to deliver the report to authorities there,” he added. The report is expected to indicate that the cause of the Helios Airways crash centered around a pressure valve which had been switched to the wrong setting.

Safe flight

Ajet, the airline which succeeded Helios Airways in Cyprus, has not been included on a European Union list of unsafe airlines, officials said yesterday. There was speculation that Ajet would become the first airline from an EU country to be added to the list. But Agence France-Presse quoted an EU source yesterday who said the airline, which mainly operates charter flights to and from Britain, will not be blacklisted. The company denies it was ever under threat of being put on the list.


Failure to recognise non-pressurisation led to August 2005 Helios 737 crash

Investigators have concluded that an incorrectly-set cabin pressurisation switch, and the failure to recognise warnings of oxygen depletion, led to the fatal loss of a Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 aircraft in Greece last year.

The final report into the accident, released today, shows that the crew did not realise that the pressurisation selector was in the ‘manual’ position while carrying out pre-flight procedures or while reading checklists – it says the switch could have been left in the ‘manual’ position, rather than returned to the ‘automatic’ position, during non-scheduled maintenance.

Helios flight ZU522 departed the Cypriot city of Larnaca for Prague on 14 August last year with 115 passengers and six crew members. But the aircraft failed to pressurise as it climbed to cruise altitude, incapacitating the crew and leading to the 737’s crashing as the engines ran out of fuel.

Read the rest of this article > Failure to recognise non-pressurisation led to August 2005 Helios

Museum to help return of Marbles October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums, Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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The completion of the new Acropolis Museum next year will help boost Greece’s chances of reclaiming the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Marbles from Britain, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday.

On a visit to the building site at the foot of the Acropolis, Karamanlis said the construction of the 129-million-euro project is moving ahead and will be completed by the middle of 2007.

“Once the museum is completed, Greece will have a very strong argument for the return of the Parthenon sculptures,” he said. “We are taking a very important step to finally realize the dream that unites all Greeks,” he added.

Depicting gods, men and monsters, the marble sculptures were stolen and removed from the Parthenon by agents of British Ambassador Lord Elgin in 1806-11, at a time when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.

Greece has officially demanded their return for some 20 years, complaining that the works were illegally removed and are part of its National heritage.

Athens gearing up for another comics extravaganza October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Vavel’s annual international festival will take place Thursday to Sunday

The annual Vavel International Comics Festival is about to take place once more. The event, one of the more important European cartoon festivals, will be held at the Technopolis Arts Complex from Thursday to Sunday.

This year’s program will include eight tributes to acclaimed and up-and-coming comic artists, three themed exhibitions, the major one being that of the Czech surrealists, the standard group exhibition of Greek artists who have been inspired by the festival theme, many parallel events and live music.

The exhibition by Francois Schuiten, who received the big prize at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, will be the event’s main attraction. Schuiten combines storytelling with science fiction. In his most well-known work, the series “Les cites obscures” (in collaboration with scriptwriter Benoit Peeters), the heroes meet their destinies under imposing yet artful architectural creations in unknown and imaginary lands.

Italy will again have a strong presence at the festival. Comic creator Filippo Scozzari played a leading role on the Italian comics scene in the 1980s, while Massimo Giacon is a pioneer comic designer, painter and designer. His work has been published in the most important comic magazines in Europe and he has also exhibited paintings all over the world. As a designer, he has worked with top companies including Alessi, Swatch, Memphis, Artemide and others.

Both an illustrator and graphic artist, Guido Scarabottolo is one of the leading men on Italy’s contemporary art scene. His trademark simple style has earned him important international awards and he is considered to be the main representative of the so-called “Italian style”. Massimo Caccia belongs to the younger generation of Italian artists. Using strong contradictions, he sets his cartoons in strange lands.

Argentinean artist Oscar Chichoni has earned his reputation as one of the most dazzling modern illustrators. His work captivates audiences, not only because of its artistic quality but also due to its challenging themes. His powerful ability to express himself, combined with the strange colors he uses, take the reader to places where man and machine become one, where rust and metal triumph and humans gain extraordinary dimensions.

The exhibition of posters by Chuck Sperry will definitely draw the public’s attention. The posters he has done for some of the most popular rock bands are recognized all over the world. Artists such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, U2, Madonna, Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins, John Lee Hooker and Garbage have had concert posters created by Sperry.

The main exhibition area will host works by artists Spyros Verykios and Lazaros Zikos, while Andreas Kassapis and Aris Baraboutis, two young and promising artists, will create a parallel world together.

One should not miss the exhibition of works by the oldest group of surrealists. The Czech group was formed in 1934, survived all the political changes between then and now, and remains active, while also staying up to date. The exhibition features the participation of 13 group members, both young and old.

An average person profiled October 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Who is the “average person”?

A worn-out employee who goes home at 6 p.m. to surrender to the comfort of his television? The millions who pack themselves onto the National Road come Friday? Tired faces on the streets? All of us?

What does the expression “average person” actually signify at the beginning of the 21st century in the homogenized Western societies in which we live?

A group of 16 artists (most of them graduates of the Athens School of Fine Arts) attempted to answer the question recently. For about six months, they organized a lively, open workshop dedicated to the study of the “average person”. The project included discussions, lectures, screenings and research stemming from the realization that the artistic avant-garde is far removed from the average person. The homes, the culture, the desires of the so-called average people, such as housewives and pensioners, all came under the scrutiny of the research group and its findings are being showcased at Bios.

A series of events have been scheduled for tomorrow, the show’s last day with a round-table discussion and a screening of Robert Redford’s “Ordinary People” at the Bios, 84 Pireos street, tel 210 3425335.